Research >> Economics

Existing-Home Sales decreased 8.5% in March


Existing-home sales fell in March following a February that saw significant nationwide gains, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Each of the four major regions reported a dip in sales, with the West suffering the largest decrease.

Total existing-home sales, completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, dropped 8.5% from February to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.27 million in March. Despite the decline, overall sales increased year-over-year for the ninth straight month, up 0.8% from a year ago (5.23 million in March 2019).

“Unfortunately, we knew home sales would wane in March due to the coronavirus outbreak,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “More temporary interruptions to home sales should be expected in the next couple of months, though home prices will still likely rise.”

While sales have declined, home prices are still solidly strong. The median existing-home price for all housing types in March was $280,600, up 8.0% from March 2019 ($259,700), as prices increased in every region. March’s national price increase marks 97 straight months of year-over-year gains.

Total housing inventory at the end of March totaled 1.50 million units, up 2.7% from February, but down 10.2% from one year ago (1.67 million). Unsold inventory sits at a 3.4-month supply at the current sales pace, up from three months in February and down from the 3.8-month figure recorded in March 2019.

“Earlier in the year, we watched inventory gradually tick upward but with the current quarantine recommendations in place, fewer sellers are listing homes, which will limit buyer choices,” Yun said. “Significantly more listings are needed and more will come on to the market once the economy steadily reopens.”

NAR’s most recent Flash Survey showed that 93% of sellers changed behavior to help the homebuying transaction move forward with social distancing and necessary precautions.

Properties typically remained on the market for 29 days in March, seasonally down from 36 days in February, and down from 36 days in March 2019. Fifty-two percent of homes sold in March 2020 were on the market for less than a month.

First-time buyers were responsible for 34% of sales in March, up from both 32% in February and 33% in March 2019. NAR’s 2019 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers – released in late 2019 – revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 33%.

"Despite the social distancing restrictions, with many Realtors® conducting virtual open home tours and with mortgage rates on the decline, a number of first-time buyers were still able to purchase housing last month," Yun said.

Individual investors or second-home buyers, who account for many cash sales, purchased 13% of homes in March, down from both 17% in February and 18% in March 2019. All-cash sales accounted for 19% of transactions in March, down from both 20% in February and 21% in March 2019.

Distressed sales – foreclosures and short sales – represented 3% of sales in March, up from 2% in February, and unchanged from 3% in March 2019.

"It is NAR’s top priority to continue to aid and assist Realtors® during these unpredicted, trying times,” said NAR President Vince Malta, broker at Malta & Co., Inc., in San Francisco, Calif. “We have played an instrumental role on Capitol Hill as Congress secured multiple federal relief packages, and we will continue fighting on behalf of our 1.4 million members, American consumers and the nation’s economy as these conversations persist."

"We have seen an increase in virtual home tours, e-signings and other innovative and secure methods that comply with social distancing directives,” Malta continued. “I am confident that Realtors® and brokerages will adapt, evolve and fight, ensuring the real estate industry will be at the forefront of our nation’s upcoming economic recovery."

Realtor.com®’s Market Hotness Index, measuring time-on-the-market data and listing views per property, revealed that the hottest metro areas in March were Colorado Springs, Colo.; Modesto, Calif.; Manchester-Nashua, N.H.; Rochester, N.Y.; and Lafayette-West Lafayette, Ind.

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate (link is external) for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage decreased to 3.45% in March, down from 3.47% in February. The average commitment rate across all of 2019 was 3.94%.

Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales
Single-family home sales sat at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 4.74 million in March, down from 5.16 million in February, and up 1.3% from a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $282,500 in March, up 8.0% from March 2019.

Existing condominium and co-op sales were recorded at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 530,000 units in March, down 11.7% from February and down 3.6% from a year ago. The median existing condo price was $263,400 in March, an increase of 7.9% from a year ago.

Regional Breakdown
Compared to the month prior, March sales decreased in every region, while the Midwest and the South experienced increases in year-over-year sales. Median home prices in all regions increased from one year ago, with the Northeast and Midwest regions showing the strongest price gains.

March 2020 existing-home sales in the Northeast fell 7.1%, recording an annual rate of 650,000, a 3.0% decrease from a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $300,400, up 8.3% from March 2019.

Existing-home sales decreased 3.1% in the Midwest to an annual rate of 1.25 million, up 4.2% from a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $219,700, a 9.7% increase from March 2019.

Existing-home sales in the South dropped 9.1% to an annual rate of 2.29 million in March, up 0.9% from the same time one year ago. The median price in the South was $245,100, a 7.5% increase from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West fell 13.6% to an annual rate of 1.08 million in March, a 0.9% decline from a year ago. The median price in the West was $420,600, up 8.0% from March 2019.





Posted: April 21, 2020 Tuesday 10:00 AM




Tags - Research
ADP EMPLOYMENT
BEIGE BOOK
BUSINESS BAROMETER
BUSINESS INVENTORIES
CASE-SHILLER
CHALLENGER LAYOFFS
CHICAGO FED MIDWEST MFG
CHICAGO FED NATL ACTIVITY
CHICAGO PMI
CONSTRUCTION SPENDING
CONSUMER CONFIDENCE
CONSUMER CREDIT
CPI
CURRENT ACCOUNT
DURABLE GOODS
EMPLOYMENT COST INDEX
EMPLOYMENT TRENDS INDEX
EXISTING HOME SALES
FACTORY ORDERS
FOMC STMT
FOMC
GDP
HELP WANTED HWOL
HOUSING STARTS
ICSC CHAIN STORE
IMPORT PRICE INDEX
INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION
INTERNATIONAL TRADE
ISM MFG
ISM NON-MFG
JOB OPENINGS
JOBLESS CLAIMS
KANSAS CITY FED MFG
LEADING INDEX
MASS LAYOFFS
MICH CONSUMER CONFIDENCE
MORTGAGE APPS
NAHB INDEX
NAPM-NY
NBER
NEW HOME SALES
NEW YORK FED MFG
NFIB OPTIMISM INDEX
NONFARM EMPLOYMENT
PAYCHEX-IHS SMALL JOBS
PENDING HOME SALES
PERSONAL INCOME
PHILA FED FORECASTERS
PHILA FED MFG
PHILA FED NON-MFG
PPI
PRODUCTIVITY GROWTH
REAL HOURLY EARNINGS
RETAIL SALES
RICHMOND FED MFG
TEXAS FED MFG
TREASURY INTL CAPITAL
WHOLESALE INVENTORIES
Archives
Dec 2020
Nov 2020
Oct 2020
Sep 2020
Aug 2020
Jul 2020
Jun 2020
May 2020
Apr 2020
Mar 2020
Feb 2020
Jan 2020
Dec 2019
Nov 2019
Oct 2019
Sep 2019
Aug 2019
Jul 2019
Jun 2019
May 2019
Apr 2019
Mar 2019
Feb 2019
Jan 2019
Dec 2018
Nov 2018
Oct 2018
Sep 2018
Aug 2018
Jul 2018
Jun 2018
May 2018
Apr 2018
Mar 2018
Feb 2018
Jan 2018
Dec 2017
Nov 2017
Oct 2017
Sep 2017
Aug 2017
Jul 2017
Jun 2017
May 2017
Apr 2017
Mar 2017
Feb 2017
Jan 2017
Dec 2016
Nov 2016
Oct 2016
Sep 2016
Aug 2016
Jul 2016
Jun 2016
May 2016
Apr 2016
Mar 2016
Feb 2016
Jan 2016
Dec 2015
Nov 2015
Oct 2015
Sep 2015
Aug 2015
Jul 2015
Jun 2015
May 2015
Apr 2015
Mar 2015
Feb 2015
Jan 2015
Dec 2014
Nov 2014
Oct 2014
Sep 2014
Aug 2014
Jul 2014
Jun 2014
May 2014
Apr 2014
Mar 2014
Feb 2014
Jan 2014
Dec 2013
Nov 2013
Oct 2013
Sep 2013
Aug 2013
Jul 2013
Jun 2013
May 2013
Apr 2013
Mar 2013
Feb 2013
Jan 2013
Dec 2012
Nov 2012
Oct 2012
Sep 2012
Aug 2012
Jul 2012
Jun 2012
May 2012
Apr 2012
Mar 2012
Feb 2012
Jan 2012
Dec 2011
Nov 2011
Oct 2011
Sep 2011
Aug 2011
Jul 2011
Jun 2011
May 2011
Apr 2011
Mar 2011
Feb 2011
Jan 2011
Dec 2010
Nov 2010
Oct 2010
Sep 2010
Aug 2010
Jul 2010
Jun 2010
May 2010
Apr 2010
Mar 2010
Feb 2010
Jan 2010
Dec 2009
Nov 2009
Oct 2009
Sep 2009
Aug 2009
Jul 2009
Jun 2009
May 2009
Apr 2009
Mar 2009
Feb 2009
Jan 2009
Dec 2008
Nov 2008
Oct 2008
Sep 2008
Aug 2008




Buy Economic Books at

The OneWall.com Book Shop

Quick Links
Barron's Online
Bloomberg
CNBC
CNBC TV Live
CNet Investor
Financial Times (UK)
Forbes
Kudlow Podcast
MSNBC TV Live
NBC News
NY Times
The Economist
TheStreet.com
Wall St Journal
Dismal Scientist
Dr. Ed Yardeni
FRED Graph
Lawrence Kudlow
Stone McCarthy
GDPNow
NABE
ABC News
CNNfn
Institutional Investor
MarketWatch
Cash Prices - WSJ.com
Dr. Jeremy Siegel
Market Map
NY RBOB Gas
Shadow Fed - SOMC
BankStocks.com
Dow Jones Indices
Morningstar
SP Indices
Mt Washington Observatory
Weather.com
Yahoo!!




National Association for Business Economics
NABE

Founded in 1920, the National Bureau of Economic Research is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization dedicated to promoting a greater understanding of how the economy works.

CFA Institute

The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission was created to examine the causes, domestic and global, of the current financial and economic crisis in the United States.

The Moment of Truth: Report of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform